Providing clean and simple web design in Chicago

For over 10 years, The Ocean Agency has been helping small businesses with their digital presence. Through web design and search engine optimization (SEO) we strive to improve the communication of our clients' web site and the effectiveness of their online marketing. As a boutique web design agency based in the River North neighborhood in Chicago, The Ocean Agency understands small business and the tools they need to succeed on the web.

 
$1,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2003
The Ocean Agency
445 W Erie St, Ste. 208
Chicago, IL 60654
United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

CMK Companies

University of Chicago

Vienna Beef

Ram Racing

Hampton Inn

GWC Law Firm

Reviews

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Digital Marketing for Immediate Care Facility

"The Ocean Agency truly is a member of our team, and they’ve taken the time to understand what drives our business."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

In an effort to drive awareness and increase visits to clinics, The Ocean Agency has improved the site structure, evaluated backlinks, and provided blog and social media content as part of an overall SEO and paid search strategy. 

The Reviewer
 
501-1,000 Employees
 
Rosemont, Illinois
Todd Vang
Chief Operating Officer, Physicians Immediate Care
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Visits to the website and actual visits to the clinics have increased significantly. The Ocean Agency sets goals to keep the initiative moving forward. If any issues do arise, they have addressed them, and there is always a clear line of communication.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Physicians Immediate Care runs 42 urgent care locations across northern Illinois and northern Indiana. I am the chief operating officer of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with The Ocean Agency?

We were trying to drive awareness of our brand and services and ultimately more visits to our clinics. Urgent care is a relatively new service, and there are many different types, from retail competitors to health systems. Much of what we were interested in doing was around becoming the first and most impactful name to appear for people looking online.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The original effort was to drive business through SEO and paid search. We view these practices as being connected and wanted to leverage both areas. They have worked with us on improving our existing website behind-the-scenes, making it more relevant on Google. Specifically, Ocean Agency has cleaned up our links, labels, and the overall website structure.

We’ve also worked with them on all of our major enhancements, for example we added the option for a patient to reserve an appointment online. During launch we shifted to same-day appointments or within 24 hours of a first visit, we’ve worked with Ocean Agency on how to handle the promotion side effectively to gain maximum awareness. It also significantly affected our relevance on the web.

Regarding SEO, we had an existing keyword list. Step one of the process involved working directly with Ocean Agency on what the search terms were, and what we were missing, as well as what our competitors were doing and other avenues we could possibly dive into. We reevaluate our strategy consistently. During quarterly and yearly reviews, we identify other avenues, and what should be maximized.

We’ve expanded beyond the original objective into Facebook, blogging and video services in order to gain more visits. We have also worked with Ocean Agency on our newsletter, which is closely related to our blog.

What is the team dynamic?

The communication has mostly been over the phone. We have weekly touch-ins with the relevant people, and have a yearly meeting with the entire teams from our side and Ocean Agency’s, planning ahead for the upcoming year. There can be sporadic face-to-face meetings during the year as well.

Across the whole account, there have been seven or eight people from Ocean Agency’s side handling different areas. There are two main point people we work with.

How did you come to work with The Ocean Agency?

We had worked with another partner before them, and it was less than effective in driving traffic. When we were interviewing, we looked at four or five different SEO paid search companies. We used all of our connections, reaching out to anyone we could think of and asking them what firm they used at the time. We made a list of four companies, interviewed them and had face-to-face meetings with three.

From there, we chose The Ocean Agency. We heard a lot of the same thing from most of the candidates. They would be maximizing this or that, but we ultimately chose The Ocean Agency, because they offered the right relationship. My philosophy is that we need a partner to integrate seamlessly with our team.

The Ocean Agency has been a true partner. If they didn’t take the time to understand our business, and only went through the motions, it wouldn’t have worked, but The Ocean Agency has lived up to our expectations. They truly did want to understand our business, asking questions around our strategy and where we could develop things, and brought it to fruition through their work.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with The Ocean Agency three years ago, and the collaboration is ongoing. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

In our three year partnership with the Ocean Agency, our SEO web hits (with Google being the largest platform) have gone up significantly. Our paid search has more than doubled and the actual visits driven to our clinics has increased at even a higher rate than that. At the same time, our cost-per-click has gone way down over the same period, with our cost-per-acquisition cutting in half. Overall, the results have been impressive. 

How did The Ocean Agency perform from a project management standpoint?

They truly are a partner and have walked us through all issues, until we completed the work.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The Ocean Agency truly is a member of our team, and they’ve taken the time to understand what drives our business, how we win in our space, and who the patient is. This has come alive through the work they’ve done. On top of this, they’re great people who are easy to work with, and who really listen to what our needs are, and how we’re driving forward.

Are there any areas they could improve?

There’ve been small things down the road, but they were straightened out quickly. When we went into a new area with Ocean Agency, such as with the newsletters or blogs, there will be some communication difficulty, making sure our SEO, paid ads and newsletters are lining up, and we’re saying the same thing. There’s nothing ongoing, and we work through the issues. The Ocean Agency has told us they’d get better at them, and they have.

5.0
Overall Score They’re a part of our team.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    The weekly meetings keep things on time, and I don’t think Ocean has missed a deadline.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I can literally calculate the value we’re getting from what we’re paying Ocean Agency. We have great return on the dollar.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I haven’t worked with many agencies which can deliver the results Ocean Agency has.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have recommended them over the last three years, more than a few times, to colleagues or industries wanting to find a great team.

SEO for Financial Nonprofit

“They have become a trusted and knowledgeable partner.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Apr. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

The Ocean Agency conduct SEO work for a non-profit financial counseling service, including keyword optimization, AB testing, and page content optimization. They also write blogs to boost the website’s profile.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Washington D.C.
Dana Dolan
Chief Communications Officer, National Foundation for Credit Counseling
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Traffic to the optimized has significantly increased, by up to 300% in some cases. The site consistently ranks on the first page, and among the top five for some keywords. The team’s analytics and reports are exemplary, providing extensive detail tracking user experience and conversions. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the chief communications officer of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, which is a non-profit organization.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with The Ocean Agency?

We have an in-house marketing team, but from my perspective, in-depth expertise is required to do SEO well. We were looking for an expert in the field, and are so happy we found The Ocean Agency.

We’re trying to build public awareness of our non-profit financial counseling and education services, build up our website visitors, and send as many client connections to our member agencies across the country as possible.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement? 

They work on our SEO, as well as conversion rate optimization. They optimized our keyword strategy and our page content strategy, and complete AB testing on a monthly basis to help increase our client connection and conversion rates for our member agencies.

Keyword research is a collaborative process. We briefed them on our business, keywords, and sector terms that we compete on. They have really become an expert in our sector. They now come to us with recommendations of which keywords we should add, optimize, build more content on, place roadblocks on, and what types of partners we should be talking to online regarding our link building strategy and referrals to our site.

We meet every month we meet and review monthly analytics report and see how we are tracking on all fronts. As a chief communications officer, I have a digital dashboard and know exactly what is going on with our keyword strategy, our key user experience paths on the websites, how our testing is going, and what needs further work. 

They are always looking for new opportunities to build our profile online. For example, they write blogs for us. We also have several supporting web landing pages to support our marketing campaigns; studentloadhelp.org is one of them, and they write blogs for that website as well. 

What is the team dynamic?

We are in regular communication with three people from their team.

How did you come to work with The Ocean Agency?

I had sent an RFP [request for proposal] out to agencies that were recommended to me. The Ocean Agency was not initially on my list, but I ended up being referred to them by a friend because of their analytical focus. I feel that for our organization’s size, they are a great fit, and ultimately won because of their analytical capabilities. We get a lot of value from the relationship for a reasonable price.

How much have you invested in them?

Around $65,000 per year.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in April 2015 and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They have really helped us to increase our client connection rate, which is critical. Year-on-year, traffic on our optimized pages on NFCC.org is up significantly. We see increases in traffic anywhere from 20% and in some cases 300%. We also see our search engine rankings go up, and in fact, we consistently rank on the first page for some of the top keywords in our sector. 

We track our rankings in relation to our sector so we know exactly where we stand month-to-month. For one keyword in particular, we ranked very highly and it was one where we were relatively low at the start of the project. We went from being in the 200s to being in the top four or five for a lot of housing-related keywords. We have definitely made some good progress.

How did The Ocean Agency perform from a project management standpoint?

They have become a trusted and knowledgeable partner. Their analytics ability, as well as their monthly analytics reporting, is phenomenal. We have a key account leader, Steve, as well as two or three other people on the team that support us as needed. They manage their time well, hit their goals, and they are always willing to jump into new challenges, even if they are unplanned.

They are very customer service focused. When we initially started working with them, we started with a website that was built by another firm, and it wasn’t built very well nor optimized for Google. They did a lot of quick triage work in order to get it up to par, addressing critical 404 errors, meta tagging, and got us up to speed pretty quickly — all in less than two weeks.

We mostly communicate daily through email, and we have a formal monthly check-in where we will spend over an hour going through all the metrics, testing results, and their recommendations as well as the next steps.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their reporting and analytics are impressive. It helps me sleep better at night knowing where we are at online. There is an expertise in their team that I certainly don’t have within our team, and I am thankful that they bring it to us.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Nothing really comes to mind.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I would recommend them to anyone. They are trustworthy, and an expert partner.

Digital Strategy for Software Solutions Company

"They stood by what they knew was the best course of action for us, and we appreciate that."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
May 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Although the client originally just sought out an agency to rebuild their website, due to their diverse capabilities and expertise, The Ocean Agency also ended up assisting the client with their complete digital strategy, including their re-branding, SEO, paid social, and content.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
United Kingdom
Jeff Heine
VP of Sales, Adsensa
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The efforts of The Ocean Agency has resulted in an increase to the client’s site from 10,000 to 75,000 visitors per year, as well as strengthened the tangible value and notoriety of their business. The client particularly appreciated that the agency was confident in their abilities, enough to push the client when needed, and kept to demanding timelines.   

 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I run the global sales marketing for a software organization. We have a contract analysis platform largely serving B2B customers, typically commercial insurance, investment banking, and legal firms. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with The Ocean Agency?

Originally, we approached them to rebuild our website.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They helped us not only to rebrand but to reposition ourselves in the existing UK market. They also create one for us in the US. We then essentially connected that effort with SEO and paid social and they now have become a full-fledged digital agency for us. The core team from The Ocean Agency is made up of 5 to 6 people. In some of the meetings, we would have about 12 people when we included the people handling the SEO, paid social, and email.

A lot of the work has been around rebranding what we do in the UK, where we’ve been on the market for 14 years. They brought in additional capabilities helping us position ourselves, our website, our collateral, and also actually supporting SEO and paid social strategy. Being new to the US market, they helped us to get established. We hadn’t done much from an SEO and a paid social standpoint, so they laid the groundwork for it. It was a nice opportunity in a sense that we didn’t have a lot of legacies. We tossed our old website and built our new one completely from scratch. We had a cohesive strategy and it has provided great results thus far.

They provided a full-service job. It was mainly them writing, but our previous website was quite robust and they helped us whittle down the words. They did the copy not only for the website but all of our supporting marketing collateral. We obviously contributed as SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises], reviewing and editing the wording, but they put a common voice to all the different digital assets we had using fewer words and more design. Our subject matter is quite dense when talking about capital markets and commercial insurance. They understood how we help our clients in a very specific way and wrote about it in layman’s terms. For people to understand that just by reading our website was a huge lead for us.

How did you come to work with The Ocean Agency?

We found them several years ago when we originally started doing paid social. We ended up going with another firm simply because social was their forte and that was where we wanted to start. I always remember that Chris was most honest and diplomatic about it, saying what we needed to do. Starting with our website, he laid out the strategy and he was right. The difference was they didn’t tell us what we wanted to hear but the truth behind what was going to generate results. We were focused on social, but Chris was always right about a full vision strategy.

How much have you invested with The Ocean Agency?

We’ve paid $15,000 for their services.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started in May 2016 and we are still actively engaged. They update our website, handle paid social, SEO, and make sure that we continue to tweak the strategy. Periodically, they help us out with various conferences in the collateral.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

The number of visits we’ve been able to track is so much more and a lot of that is due to the SEO strategy. We went from 10,000 to 75,000 visits a year. The number of people that hear about us increases every month. With the orchestrated campaigns we run, we do well over 50,000 new visits each month. In terms of building the overall brand and creating comfort for our clients, they have added a tangible value to our business.

How did The Ocean Agency perform from a project management standpoint?

Given our unique situation wherein almost every facet of the business was involved, they did very well. They implemented some tools like Basecamp and kept us organized. It’s been a lot to manage and they have done it. On a weekly basis, we went through various aspects of SEO and paid social. We also have a monthly catch-up where we have the core people in certain subject matter areas roll in and out.

What did you find most impressive about The Ocean Agency?

They are not afraid of bringing up new ideas or their bad ones, but they are quite assertive about what they believe we need to be doing around best practices. For example, Chris brought up various concepts to us which we rejected initially, but they ended up on the website because he had very specific points. He didn’t back off because he knew what was best for us. It was always done professionally and never in a confrontational manner. They stood by what they knew was the best course of action for us, and we appreciate that. A lot of companies were willing to give us exactly what we said we wanted, but I don’t know if that would have provided the same results.

The other aspect is the combination of services. Some companies have a person in-house to do paid social, but we have benefited from having their expertise across the entire platform, which provided a much richer and cohesive relationship. That has been unique for us to take advantage of.

Are there any areas The Ocean Agency could improve?

Project management could be an area where they could grow a bit more. We never got off plan, but they could improve their communication skills. I don’t have a lot to complain about, honestly.

5.0
Overall Score We have been quite demanding with rough timelines, but they always delivered and never complained. They are very service oriented, and undoubtedly, it’s part of the culture of what they do.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They spent more time keeping us on track.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Comparing them to the market with what you get, there’s a tremendous value.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Month over month, the results show the people understand what we do and are getting interested in us. It has been a noticeable difference.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I already have.

Wordpress Development for Real Estate Firm

"The Ocean Agency is the best at project management."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Apr. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

The Ocean Agency was hired to develop a website, provide SEO services, and video productions services.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
River Forest, Illinois
Peggy Harrington
Marketing, CMK Companies
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client has seen business come in thanks to their PPC campaigns. They really appreciated the agency's ability to keep them up to date on anything that was going on. They feel they are best at project management and ultimately like that the office seems to be very close.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

CMK Companies is a real estate development company. I’m the marketing coordinator.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with The Ocean Agency?

We initially approached The Ocean Agency to help us build a website. We use them in various ways now.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The Ocean Agency has done several websites for us. The sites are built on WordPress which is convenient for us because they can teach us how to use it. I now edit them myself. The process was a collaborative effort between our two teams. We met with them to give them our ideas, and they put together the wireframes. We reviewed the wireframes and gave them revisions. They were great at giving us their feedback. We also work with them on SEO [search engine optimization], PPC [pay-per-click], and video production. For our SEO campaign, they are doing the work from research, implementation, and monitoring because we had nothing in place before now. The video is a lifestyle video. We’ve done a walkthrough with the videographer, and now he’s working on scripting.

How did you come to work with The Ocean Agency?

We had seen a lot of their work and were very impressed with them. We also had a personal connection with the CEO.

How much have you invested with The Ocean Agency?

Over the course of our relationship, we’ve spent around $50,000 not including the ad spend.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’re currently working with them.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

In regards to PPC on one of our rentals, we’ve had rentals that can be directly attributed to our PPC campaigns. Every week our highest performing number of calls and emails is all coming from PPC. We’ve been really happy with that. 

How did The Ocean Agency perform from a project management standpoint?

The Ocean Agency is the best at project management. We’ve been very impressed with them. The Ocean Agency goes above and beyond and is very responsive. I can call them anytime, and they help me with whatever I need. The Ocean Agency exceeds our expectations. For example, in one of our projects, we were running a contest, and we needed to go live at midnight. They stayed up to finish that project so we could launch on time.

What did you find most impressive about The Ocean Agency?

All of their teams are in the same office and work closely together. I think we got better results because of the collaboration within their company.

Are there any areas The Ocean Agency could improve?

No. We’ve been 100% satisfied. We love working with them and will continue to give them more business as it comes our way.

5.0
Overall Score I think The Ocean Agency is a great team, a great group of people and they work really hard and deliver great results.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Any delays have been because of our team.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I think The Ocean Agency is worth more than what we were charged.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    We have great functioning websites. We get a ton of compliments on them. They’re super dynamic, and we always got everything on time.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    We have referred The Ocean Agency to other people.

SEO for Coaching Company

"The Ocean Agency gets the work done right. It is worth every dollar I’ve spent with them."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Nov. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

The Ocean Agency was hired to develop a website and provide SEO services.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Paul Glover
Owner, Paul Glover Coaching
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client has received a lot of great feedback regarding the work that has been done. They have received new business from existing clients and more prospective clients have become interested in the content the client is putting out there. They appreciated that they were given time to make decisions.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the owner of a coaching company that does executive and executive team coaching.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with The Ocean Agency?

I had an old business website that needed to be updated. We also needed to drive business to the website.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The Ocean Agency built the website and helped us with SEO. They showed me what my current website was doing, which was nothing, and what they anticipated the new website would be able to do for my business. They didn’t just give me opinions, they were also giving me facts. They had done their homework and research. I felt confident that they would do what they said they were going to do.

They were very accommodating. During the process, I wanted to do video testimonials, but the people I work with are scattered throughout the United States. They went with me to Phoenix, where my largest client is, and videotaped testimonials. They wanted to make sure I was satisfied with what they were doing and that the site would be professional. The Ocean Agency gave me feedback on some of my ideas. They met with me anytime they had wireframes or storyboards so that they could explain it to me. They did keyword research and met with me to explain the thought process behind that.

How did you come to work with The Ocean Agency?

A friend of mine had used them very successfully and had recommended them to me. I checked out some of the work they had done. Because I’m non-technical, I needed someone who would tell me what they’re going to do, why they’re going to it, and how they’re going to do it.

How much have you invested with The Ocean Agency?

Over the course of a year, I spent $10,000 on their services.

What is the status of this engagement?

I’m satisfied enough with their performance to continue working with them.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

They built a website that I’m happy with. Most people who visit the website are impressed and other business owners love it. I post a Point of the Day every day that goes out to 1,500 people. When the website launched, I posted about it and asked for opinions. Unanimously, the people who have responded loved it. They have recommended other people who have signed up for Paul’s Point of the Day. I haven’t gotten a new client out of it, but some of my clients are now aware of more services that I provide, so I picked up some business that way. I didn’t expect immediate results. The Ocean Agency gets the work done right. It is worth every dollar I’ve spent with them.  

How did The Ocean Agency perform from a project management standpoint?

The project took a year to complete, but that was because I pushed the deadline out so I could take the time to make decisions. They were patient with me and they made sure to stay in touch. They didn’t lose interest because I was slow. They had a plan for me within the first 30 days and we followed that plan. Their professionalism and the trust I had in them was a part of the reason I am continuing to work with them. I know they will give me the return on investment.

What did you find most impressive about The Ocean Agency?

Their ability to stay in touch and engaged over an extended period of time—while letting me continue at my pace—is a quality you don’t often find. Another distinction is that they’re not a hard sell. They were extremely good at making sure I understand the process and what the results would be. They show a level of professionalism that I appreciate. They have a sense of humor about the process and kept it comfortable.

Are there any areas The Ocean Agency could improve?

They are self-effacing to the point where they didn’t alert me about the other services they could provide and how they would benefit me. The owner of the company asked me to lunch after the website was completed to find out how I felt about my experience. It was then that I asked him what other services they provide. That conversation led to the continued work they’re doing for me now. I told them they need to let others know everything they do.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Absolutely.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer